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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

THE EVIL THAT MEN DO                      115

wonderful of you to keep up the fight when all the censors are gagged.
It almost appears that the censorate's responsibility for criticising the
government has now devolved upon the shoulders of a palace gate-
feseper." Thereupon the censor handed him a package of two volumes
of collected reports against those in authority that had accumulated in
the office of the imperial censorate, saying: "I consign these data to
your care." But Huiching obtained this news through his efficient spy
system, and now he sent Sudan to overtake Cheng Shia on the way
and search his baggage. With the two volumes of reports which con-
tained all-the names of people who had ever criticised the administra-
tion, Huiching, Dunquan, and Sudan proceeded systematically to
prosecute these critics, one by one, and put them in jail. Huiching
wanted to sentence Cheng Shia to death, but was .prevented by the
Emperor, who said: "Cheng Shia is not thinking of himself but of the
country. I admire his courage and honesty. He should not be punished
too severely." So Cheng Shia was permitted to go on to his place of
exile.

A certain Huang, after Su Tungpo was dead, obtained a wonderful
manuscript by Su Tungpo, which contains one of his famous sayings.
"It is easier to stand poverty than success, easier to stand hard work
than leisure, and easier to stand a pain than an itch. If a man can take
success well, be happy in leisure, and stand an itch, he must indeed be
"a man of great principles." Every revolutionary party shows its best
strength and unity before it comes to power, but after achieving power
and weeding out opposition, it begins to crumble and split from internal
strife. There is no question that the desire to overthrow someone in
power brings out some of the best instincts in human nature and the
power to rule others brings out the worst. As long as things were going
well and everybody had a good job, Dunquan and Huiching and Tseng
Pu were too busy to quarrel among themselves. As soon as Wang
Anshih was out of power and things began to go wrong, the gang
soon fell out with one another.

Long before this happened, the seeds of internal decay had been
planted Wang Anshih's son hated Huichiag and Huiching hated
Cseng Pu. Dunquan, who ran with the hare and hunted with the
hounds, was going to have a very busy time. Wang Anshih was un-
fortunate in his one remaining son. Brilliant, erratic, and cruel, the
son was responsible for many of the mischiefs of this administration.*
Now that he was grown up, he had taken charge of the family's
finances and his uncles could no longer have a free time with Wang
Anshih's money. The arrogant son of an all-powerful premier, he

* He also suspected his wife and believed that his son was not his own. Wang
persecuted his wife and she died very young.